Retailers Reduce Cigarette Sales to Youth
Recent data from SAMHSA show that retailers continue to reduce
sales of tobacco to children under age 18. Overall, the national
retailer violation rate dropped to 14.1 percent in 2002from
16.3 percent in 2001 and 40.1 percent in 1996. SAMHSA released these
data in December at the 2003 National Conference on Tobacco or Health
The 2002 survey shows that 41 states and the District of Columbia
achieved a retailer violation rate of no more than 15 percent.
Survey findings are based on reports submitted by states in response
to a Federal law established in 1992 that restricts access to tobacco
by youth under age 18. The law, known as the Synar Amendment, was
named for the late Representative Mike Synar of Oklahoma. It includes
implementing regulations that require states and U.S. territories
to enact and enforce youth tobacco access laws; conduct annual,
random unannounced inspections of tobacco outlets; achieve negotiated
annual retailer violation targets; and attain a final goal of 20
percent or below for retailer non-compliance.
The new survey shows that seven states reported achieving a retailer
violation rate of 20 percent or less for the first time in 2002.
These states include Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio,
Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.
States with a low retailer violation rate have a number of common
characteristics, according to SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie,
M.A., A.C.S.W. "Generally, these states employ a comprehensive
strategy that combines vigorous enforcement efforts, political support
from the state government, and a climate of active social norms
that discourage youth tobacco use," he explained. "Tobacco
control programs in these states also tend to be well coordinated
and include targeted merchant and community education, media advocacy,
and use of community coalitions to mobilize support for restricting
minors' access to tobacco."
Alaska was the only state that failed to meet its negotiated retailer
violation target in 2002. As specified in the law, Alaska is committing
additional state funds for tobacco enforcement as an alternative
to losing part of its SAMHSA block grant funding.
For more information, visit http://prevention.samhsa.gov/tobacco.
Or, contact SAMHSA's
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at P.O.
Box 2345, Rockville, MD 20847-2345. Telephone: 1 (800) 729-6686
(English and Spanish) or 1 (800) 487-4889 (TDD).
Also Related ContentRetailer Violation Rates
Reported in 2002 »
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